Scroll through most social media today and you’ll find delightfully composed images of manicured gardens, perfectly frothed lattes, and the effortlessly styled “shelfie”– a photo of your prized positions artfully arranged on a shelf-like surface – now almost as popular as the original “selfie”.
Images of color coordinated, purely decorative accents abound, and all those cumbersome necessities, television remotes, laundry in need of folding, and kids’ toys (sometimes the kids themselves) are strategically hidden away. It’s easy to get frustrated when our own reality isn’t so picture perfect. However, IKEA’s marketing strategy is bucking that trend.
In an article, Forbes recently compared the retail industry to the Grateful Dead in the 1980s. At that time, a band’s success was rooted in their ability to sell records. Concerts were merely a vehicle for pushing record sales. The Grateful Dead left that model behind; their music was free, and their fans were free to spend on concerts and merchandise. As Forbes says, “They realized that the product wasn’t the album, but the experience.”
In a similar way, retailers who are making an impression and boosting their brand loyalty among customers are those who understand that just pushing product isn’t enough anymore. Instead, customers want an experience, and they want retailers to make an impression that transcends the goods in their shopping carts.
Warby Parker is one of the most significant e-commerce retailers today. While the prescription eye wear brand is young (founded in 2010), it has catapulted to the forefront of the retail industry and has begun building a brick-and-mortar presence. What is it about the business that made it such a hit with consumers? Below we take a look at three of the most significant reasons why:
1.) Their vision (pun intended). Warby Parker effectively does two things with every transaction. They recognized that almost all eye wear was produced by one manufacturer that was keeping the glasses at unnecessarily high costs. So they made the glasses in-house, cut costs, and offered their vintage-inspired frames at low prices. And when they show those prices, they do so with small, rounded numbers ($95, not $94.99), in readable type.
Every year, 80 billion pieces of clothing are created for sale. It’s no secret that the clothing industry has often been the subject of rebuke, given its systematic failure to respect worker’s rights. Not only that, but much of the clothing produced is low-quality, and it’s mint-condition is a brief stage. Zady is a clothing company that has resolved itself to change that, and to become the new standard.
What exactly does that look like, though? For the company, whose founders have been dubbed the “Whole Foods of Fashion,” they’re making sustainable responsibility their baseline, and not their end goal.
As e-commerce sweeps in, retailers resting on the physical storefront recognize that there are two important factors at play that must be addressed. As labor costs rise, they must work to keep costs down, and as consumer expectations change, they must evolve to suit them.
Robots address both of these issues. A report says that within the next five years robots will be responsible for 6% of jobs in the United States being eliminated. Many of the issues that retailers face on a consistent basis can be combated by robots. Peak hours that are undermanned, high employee tuner-over rates, theft, messy stores, etc., can all be dealt with by robots.